Alaska Small Business Development Center

Tourism Season is Here: Tips for Small Business Success

May 1, 2024

The Alaskan days are getting longer, and tourists are beginning their journeys to our beautiful state! It’s prime time for your small business to shine, too. Here’s how to make the most of the summer rush without breaking the bank or revamping your web presence.

Free Online Presence Boost

  1. Website Refresh: Is your website updated and mobile-friendly? Can visitors easily find your hours, location, and what makes you special? Update photos and descriptions to showcase your local charm.

  2. Be Found on BuyAlaska: If you haven’t already, now is a great time to claim your free listing on BuyAlaska to connect with visitors and Alaskans searching for local businesses like yours year-round.

  3. Social Media Savvy: Pick a platform you enjoy, like Facebook or Instagram, that you can commit to posting to regularly. Share eye-catching photos and stories of your products and services in action. Feature happy customer experiences and run special summer promotions. Be sure your location is accurate so your business can be easily found in-person or online. Then take a look at your Google or Yelp reviews – be sure to respond to them in thanks or acknowledgement. It shows you care!

Your Strategic Approach:

  • Analyze past sales data and visitor trends to predict what products and services will be most in demand during the summer months. Stock up on those goodies early to avoid disappointing empty shelves!

  • Think Local: When possible, source unique products from Alaskan suppliers and artisans. This strengthens your community ties and offers something special to visitors. Plus, it’s great social media content!

Alaskan Service:

  • Staff Training: Empower staff to be welcoming, knowledgeable, and efficient. Ensure they can answer visitor questions about Alaska and your business.

  • Go the Extra Mile: Small gestures can go a long way when they are realistic. Offer a cool bottle of water on a hot day or a warm cup of local tea on a rainy one. Free local maps are a traveler’s best friend! How can you help your business stand out?

  • Spruce up Storefronts: A fresh coat of paint, clean windows, and inviting seasonal displays can make all the difference. Consider adding comfortable seating outside, easy-to-spot “Open” signs, or featuring local artwork or music.

  • In Anchorage? Anchorage Community Development Authority (ACDA), in partnership with Northrim Bank and Alaska SBDC’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program at the UAA Business Enterprise Institute, expanded the Great Streets Façade Loan Program to Midtown Anchorage’s business district with funding up to $100,000 to ito revitalize business districts in Muldoon, Downtown, and Midtown by providing low-interest loans to improve the appearance of building façades and stimulate private investment. Apply here!

Partner for Success

  • Neighbor Collaborations: Consider offering package deals or promotions with other local businesses. This showcases the diversity of your community and attracts more visitors.

  • Think Outside the Box: Explore unique co-marketing opportunities like joint advertising campaigns or events.

Alaska SBDC is Here to Help!

Feeling overwhelmed? The Alaska SBDC offers no-cost business advising to help you craft a winning strategy. Receive guidance on marketing, managing inventory, planning finances, and running a seasonal business like a pro.

We also offer a suite of workshops and resources on everything from social media to customer service to empower you and your business. Let’s connect to get started.

Summer is a time for growth, connection, and showcasing the magic of Alaska, and we can’t wait to see what you do!

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